IN THIS LUMINOUS MEMOIR, LEGENDARY SINGER AND ACTRESS NATALIE COLE TELLS A REMARKABLE STORY OF LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS AND RECOVERY, AND THE STORY OF A DEATH THAT BROUGHT NEW LIFE.
In 2009 Natalie Cole was on dialysis, her kidneys failing. Without a kidney transplant, her future was uncertain. Throughout Natalie’s illness one of her biggest supporters was her beloved sister Cooke. But then Cooke herself became ill, with cancer. Astonishingly, as Cooke lay dying in a hospital, Natalie received a call that a kidney was available, but the surgery had to be performed immediately. Natalie couldn’t leave her sister’s side—but neither could she refuse the kidney that would save her own life.
This is a story of sisters, Natalie and Cooke, but also of the sisters who made the transplant possible, Patty and Jessica. It was Jessica’s death that gave new life to Natalie, even as Natalie experienced the devastating loss of Cooke. Patty, too, suffered her own terrible loss, but when she met Natalie, she found that her sister’s spirit still lived. Through the gift of life, Natalie and Patty became sisters in spirit.
Love Brought Me Back is a story of loss and recovery, sorrow and joy, success and despair—and, finally, success again. It will touch you as few memoirs ever have.
Given the CRrazy way that I lived my life, the chances I took, and the dangers I brought on, I should not be here. And yet, at age sixty, I sit at my desk, healthy and energetic, as I prepare to tell the remarkable story of these past two years.
I feel compelled to tell you this story because I believe that it will illustrate the goodness of a living God. I also tell it because I still need to process what happened to me and my sister, and to Jessica and Patty.
I see this story as the orchestration of four sisters whose lives became intertwined in improbable and seemingly impossible ways.
It is a story of loss and gain.
I lost a loving sister named Cooke (pronounced “Cookie”).
Patty lost a loving sister named Jessica.
Patty’s loss gained me my life.
Cooke’s spirit inspired my life, just as Jessica’s shining spirit inspired Patty.
We are all joined together—not just Natalie, Cooke, Jessica, and Patty, but all humankind. Our dramas may seem separate, but my drama has brought me to an inescapable conclusion: that we are deeply and permanently connected.
Those connections are exquisite multifaceted pieces, like gems in a mosaic. When we study each piece, we are enthralled. When we step back to see the mosaic in its entirety—the big picture of our lives—we are awestruck.
I am awestruck. I am aware that it is only with God’s grace that I am alive and able to tell this story.
Over the past four decades, Natalie Cole has performed the world over, won multiple Grammys, and sold tens of millions of records in the genres of R&B, pop, and jazz. She is perhaps best known for her 1991 album, Unforgettable . . . with Love, featuring her vocal arrangements of her father's greatest hits with piano accompaniment by her uncle Ike Cole, which won several Grammy awards, including Album of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance.
As an actress, she starred in director Delbert Mann’s “Lily in Winter” and co-starred with Laurence Fishburn and Cicely Tyson in Walter Mosley’s “Always Outnumbered.” She played herself in “Livin’ For Love: The Natalie Cole Story,” the biopic of her life, which aired on NBC. Natalie has made more than 300 major television appearances, from dramas like “Law and Order” and “Touched by an Angel” to talk shows with Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Larry King. She lives in Los Angeles, California.